2014: The Year Alternative Therapies Go Mainstream! (We Hope)

We follow the health sections of mainstream media sources such as The New York Times, CNN and WebMD, and lately we’ve been seeing more and more stories related to Complementary Alternative Medicine.  It’s exciting to see this adoption of holistic remedies by conventional health practitioners and hope that it continues to become more commonplace as we enter 2014.  Here are a few of the latest articles: Acupuncture Goes Mainstream WebMD: Acupuncture, which has been practiced for millennia in China, is a small part of her own practice. But she makes frequent referrals to the clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine. There, acupuncture, which uses needles to stimulate specific parts of the body, is increasingly popular for problems like chronic pain, allergies, and asthma. Five thousand patients underwent acupuncture at the facility in 2009, up from 3,600 in 2007. Light Therapy for Depression The New York Times: Antidepressants like Prozac and Paxil are widely used to treat depression, but a much less costly alternative called bright light therapy, in which a patient sits under an artificial light for a set period of time each day, is not. Light therapy is typically recommended for seasonal affective disorder, the “winter blues” brought on by shorter days and limited sun. Some psychiatrists prescribe it for this condition, often as a last resort when patients fail to respond to drugs. Green Tea May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease WebMD: Regular consumption of green tea may offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and may also slow growth of cancer cells, new research indicates. Green tea, an ancient Chinese remedy, has been shown to have protective properties in undigested,...

Acupuncture Alleviates Depression During Pregnancy

Acupuncture has been getting more mainstream acceptance within the medical community as more and more studies show it’s efficacy in alleviating symptoms. In fact, the study, “Acupuncture for Depression During Pregnancy: A Randomized Controlled Trial” in the March issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology shows acupuncture as a successful alternative to antidepressants for pregnant women. The study is a a first-of-its-kind from Stanford University School of Medicine researchers and looked at 150 women whose pregnancies were between 12 and 30 weeks gestation and who met the criteria for major depressive disorder. Depression can affect up to 14% of pregnant women. Characterized by feelings of dread, gloom and hopelessness, and a loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities, depression during pregnancy is suggested to be caused by an influx of hormones combined with the stress of a major life change. If left untreated, depression can be dangerous for both mom and baby, and is linked to poor birth outcomes and postpartum depression. Antidepressant medication is sometimes prescribed during pregnancy, however many women opt not to take antidepressants while pregnant due to safety concerns. “Because there’s this concern about medication among pregnant women and their physicians, it’s important to find an alternative,” said Rachel Manber, PhD, who led the study. The women who participated in the Acupuncture study were randomized to receive one of three treatments: acupuncture specific for depression; control acupuncture, during which needles were inserted in points not known to help alleviate depressive symptoms; or massage. The researchers found that women who received acupuncture specific for depression experienced a greater rate of decrease in symptom severity. The response rate was...

US Military Utilizes Holistic Healing Methods

Holistic Healing is becoming more mainstream as evidenced by the United States Military’s acceptance of holistic healing methods such as acupuncture, manual therapy, relaxation techniques and an overall holistic approach to physical and emotional well being.  The following article, “Holistic Healing Gaining Ground in Military” was reported in The Fort Leavenworth Lamp Online by Sgt. Lindsey Bradford: BAGHDAD – Since the Army introduced the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program in October 2009, there has been much focus on a holistic approach to physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family well-being. But what is holistic healing exactly? According to Lt. Col. Erica Clarkson, a U.S. Forces-Iraq physical therapist, holistic healing is an approach that uses natural methods to improve health, without using drugs or surgery to correct problems. Clarkson has been practicing holistic healing for 17 years, and has continued to treat service members in Iraq at the Courage Clinic, in the Al Faw Palace on Camp Victory. Some of Clarkson’s holistic modalities include acupuncture, manual therapy, relaxation techniques and prescribed exercises specific to each patient’s physical ailment. “There are no significant adverse side effects like there are with using drugs to treat problems,” she said. “Different medicines have been linked to ulcers and other gastrointestinal irritations, and even death.” For Lt. Col. Chad Sundem and Maj. Dorothy de Leon, the holistic healing approach has proved very beneficial in recovering from injuries they sustained. Sundem, the aide-de-camp for I Corps commander Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., was suffering from calf strains, a pinched nerve and arm numbness when he began seeing Clarkson. He received weekly acupuncture treatments for the problems. The...

Study Shows Acupuncture Effective in Treating Pain

A new research study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology looks at the use of acupuncture to treat menstrual pains.  They conclude that there is convincing evidence that acupuncture is effective in reducing pain. “Around 40 – 50% of young women have experienced primary dysmenorrhea, or menstrual cramps, the cause of which is usually unknown (when the causes are known, it is referred to as ‘Secondary’ dysmenorrhea, eg. uterine fibroids, pelvic infection, endometriosis etc). For some women, the pain can become more severe or may last for longer as they grow older. There are also other related symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, migraine, backache and mood swings. Common treatments include exercise, applying heat onto the lower abdomen or the use of painkillers. The use of acupuncture to treat dysmenorrhea has in recent years been the subject of study but results have so far been inconclusive.” Researchers from the Oriental Hospital at Kyung Hee University Medical Centre in Korea reviewed the use of acupuncture to treat menstrual pain. “They examined women of reproductive age with primary dysmenorrhea, comparing those who were treated with acupuncture with a control group, which included no treatment, placebo treatment, or pharmacological or non-pharmacological treatments (eg. psychological interventions). The types of acupuncture evaluated were classical acupuncture, electroacupuncture, laser acupuncture, electrical auricular acupuncture, auricular acupuncture, auricular acupressure and acupoint injection.” “According to researchers, the data reviewed showed that acupuncture was the preferred option for reducing pain when compared to pharmacological treatment or herbal remedies. The researchers observe that there is convincing evidence on the effectiveness of using acupuncture to treat pain as it stimulates...

President Obama Supports Alternative Medicine in New Healthcare Plan

Preventative medicine and alternative therapies will have a place in President Obama’s new healthcare plan.  In a town hall meeting in Arnold Missouri, as released on Whitehouse.gov in Remarks by the President April 29, 2009, President Obama addressed a question related to alternative medicine and it’s future within the newly proposed healthcare program: Q    I’m a licensed acupuncturist and licensed massage therapist in Florissant.  And so — THE PRESIDENT:  I could use one right now.  (Laughter.)  My back is stiff.  I’ve been working hard. Q    I’ll be happy to help you.  (Laughter.)  And this kind of fits into what you were just talking about as far as health care.  I’m wondering, as a practitioner of Oriental medicine, knowing that the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization has discovered through their studies that alternative medicine often is more cost-effective and very effective, how will alternative medicine fit in your new health care program? THE PRESIDENT:  Well, look, my attitude is that we should — we should do what works.  So I think it is pretty well documented through scientific studies that acupuncture, for example, can be very helpful in relieving certain things like migraines and other ailments — or at least as effective as more intrusive interventions. I will let the science guide me.  We just swore in an outstanding new Secretary of Health and Human Service, Kathleen Sebelius, former governor of Kansas.  (Applause.)  It’s good to see that a Jay Hawk got applause on this side of the border here. (Laughter.)  But she’s going to do an outstanding job.  And my charge to her is, as...

~Results may vary from patient to patient. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If pregnant or nursing, ask a health professional before use. If symptoms persist or worsen, seek advice of physician.